tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 24, 2014 4:30pm-6:31pm EST
>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. ambassador, certainly i think most of us were success in your endeavor. but i have to confess to you, listening to you make me feel that one is in a scene in the "wizard of oz" where we are being counseled to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, meaning the previous iraqi government, which we supported way too long in terms of maliki and the damage he did and absolutely severing relationships between the shia and sunni, which contributed mightily to the rise of isis and the loss of moderates not only in iraq, but the spillover in syria. i mean, you said to us, pay attention to the fact we have a new government. it is relatively new. when one looks at measures of
progress, one despairs frankly ambassador wicker. what constitutes progress? how many troops we trained. how did that work out for us? they melted away and now we have isis is one of the best funded, best equipped terrorist organizations in the planet. not because we intended it, but because our allies in iraq collapsed comprehensively. now we talk about maybe what we have to do does have a smaller task force that can go win. will train them. we will train hundreds of thousands. you talked in response, judge poe and we all hope that works. i don't know anyone who
seriously thinks you can train effectively with successful dieting 5000 insurgents who are moderate and maybe secular and they will be reintroduced to syria and turn the tide. in fact, all of the indications are the moderate, you know part of the insurgency such as it is has collapsed, is actually losing ground catastrophically. almost to the point of extinction. and so you cited decentralization reforms and the new governor is reaching out as if that is going to turn the tide. maybe didn't intend for that. i guess i would like to see advantageous metrics with respect to the subject of this hearing which is are we making progress? how do we measure? and efficacious way, not a feel-good way, not a check the box way. how do we measure progress given
the fact that this administration has said began cool with respect to isis is destruction. not deterring it, not pushing it back. it is destruction. i don't hear anything from your testimony and i hear nothing in the so-called metrics of progress reported here today that would give me your anyone confidence that we know what we are doing and that we have been a fair chance at all to return to the "wizard of oz" can be a powerful wizard. i just don't see it. could you please comment on the metrics we've got and the reason we should be confident those metrics will lead to progress unquote. >> well come a very good question we try to take an empirical data driven approach is much is possible to what is a very complex situation. the data we look at every month or the suicide bombers coming into iraq. we would have from five to 10 a year, up to 30, five to 10 a
month in 2011, 2012. sometimes 50 a month. the month before the iraqi elections we had 50. it is coming now when i look at the indicators. i can't tell you if that is a trend or an anomaly. right now it is coming down. we're looking to see reforms the new government is making an abandoned iraqi commitment we will succeed. if you look in the hundred days is abolished the office of the commander-in-chief witches and irritant to the sunnis and centralized all security responsibility in the office of the prime minister. it has terminated almost three dozen problematic security commanders. it has identified as this has had 50,000 go soldiers, which is an anticorruption mechanism. so does taking steps we want to have taken to change the government, congressman. we couldn't say we have to have a new government. we had to get to elections. on april 30th, earlier this year, for those elections to happen, we had to work over the
course of 2013 to get the election system in place in the mechanisms in place and have u.n. oversight to make sure they were genuine and credible. those elections did happen and they set the conditions to get a new government. this is a multiyear process, but we have a new government now and it is taking the measures we've been promising. >> as i said, mr. ambassador, i want you to succeed. i hope you succeed. but just as some of the criticism of the administration with respect to syria in a single at two prominent members of the other body, who were all too quick to say they were easy answers and it nasturtium wasn't doing enough as if we knew who to support in syria. similarly, we on our side cannot be overly facile in the difficulties we face in the goals we set for herself. i am very fearful at the end of the day that those schools are not realizable, not realistic and we can't really set up my
tricks that are efficacious. thank you, mr. chairman. my time is up. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. ambassador, i apologize. i am just getting my voice back. you will probably be real thing about that. but the fact is, many members today on the both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns. maybe the administration's posture is more defensive than offenses and that as such, isis controls roughly as much property as they did five months ago or territory as they did a month ago. the president described the training of the free syrian army the tip of this fear on the ground game and we are learning that they are not even going to start training until march of next year.
yesterday, the secretary left the door open for u.s. ground troops at the senate armed services -- senate foreign affairs committee and for the record, that is a payday. you've stated the president has promised over and over again we didn't even need to have you say that. we've heard them say the same name. i believe that ultimately u.s. ground troops are going to be essential to completely defeat and not just contain isil as i believe the current administration policy has. my first question is when can we expect the administration to come to congress for an authorization for the use of military force and i don't believe the one past 10 years ago is adequate. i do want to do everything within my power. other members have said it's too bad at keeping isis and continued on. i second question is the recent
reports indicate that allies are concerned about the u.s. commitment to this site and some are threatening to withdraw from the coalition. what are we going to do to reassure them to keep them in the coalition and what are we going to do to get back on the offense and not so much of the defense? those are my questions. >> on the au of mass, as you know, secretary kerry devoted an entire session yesterday before the senate foreign relations committee been made clear we are prepared to work closely with the congress. there is legislation being drafted in the senate, particularly from chairman menendez, which the secretary has said we are willing to work on and we found some promising elements there. the secretary was also pretty clear that his policy that u.s. military forces would not be deployed to combat against isil. we also don't want to tie the hands of the commander-in-chief given a certain environment and
you couldn't face and exigent situation. this will calm within congress about what the actual terminology of the au en masse will be. in terms of the coalition, this is why it's important that we have this conference in brussels last week because he brought every member of the coalition together. he joined a joint statement which lays out the way forward. all make sure you have that if you haven't seen it. it brought countries to mall around the world around the same table focused on the same problem and how to proceed. so that is the kind of initiative that could help keep the coalition together. general allen and i in our travels are focused on this and it's a lot more in terms of coalition and management of keeping it together. right now the commitment is very firm. the last time you testified here we had done no airstrikes. i wasn't too long ago. last i looked they got the most recent numbers, 500 dirty.
what's different about past campaigns as airstrikes are focused on precise intelligence we have been careful about making sure with no civilian casualties and that is something i saw general austin in bahrain on sunday for an hour talking about the state of the overall campaign and he is focused on that because we want to keep the population as much as possible on our side and airstrikes to date have been very precise, very effective and i can tell you that getting reports every morning, we are hitting the targets we see today. we have leadership targets, the mobil refineries. we have hit 22 of them, which is really impacting the ability to finance itself. we are hitting the command and control cells. we have completely destroyed isil's ability to mass maneuver
force. so effectively until the summer they would do the swerving maneuver tactics of heavy armored equals and basically overrun anything in this way. you can't do that anymore and that anymore and that to me as an empirical sign of progress we're making. we have to keep at it. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> mr. ambassador, you indicated earlier that the deal between prime minister bhaswati and the kurds in erbil was a big deal, that the central government in baghdad will permanently resume payments to courtesy and, representing 17%, including a billion dollars to pay for the salaries of the peshmerga and weapons for them as well. why it is important is because to date there hasn't been an effective countervailing
fighting force in iraq. now there appears to be. the peshmerga estimates are about 190 fighters. they have proven to be reliable. they are experienced and they've also proven to be reliable allies to the united states. in our involvement in iraq. iraqi officials now want to push for american officials are concerned the schedule is too ambitious. can you explain not? >> let me first say on the peshmerga. one additional point addressing your questions and about how we are in a new area there appeared part of our plan is to train and equip a 12 iraqi brigades. those units receive the same weapons -- between baghdad and
erbil. that is a significant point on the record. an ongoing discussion about how best to prosecute the campaign. we will be very prudent i've said repeatedly this will be a multiyear campaign and nobody wants to ration before it's been set. it's an ongoing conversation and how to proceed in one area and not another. >> toward the goal, how many isis fighters are in under bon mots old today? >> it is hard to say. the leaders in mosul, we believe
we been taken off the battlefield. >> in the number again. >> the last i've seen are the low thousands. >> meaning what? >> i can give you a precise number. >> hybrid force to talk about between isil and the peshmerga would represent would represent 20,000 fighters. >> what is the size of the population? >> about 1.5 million. >> we don't believe a winter offensive is advisable right now because the hybrid fighting force is not ready yet, hasn't had the proper training here it's been that we want to set
the conditions before and one thing we've learned is we don't want to move into an urban combat environment. the conditions have been set. you're going to work with the local population. we are working in fact with the province and other local leaders who are now located in regions and areas right near mosul and making sure police forces that and once isil is kicked out of mosul to bring services and stability which will have been suffering under the rule for some time. you can't just rush into it and that is why we have these joint operations centers to plan these operations. >> would you characterize as being in the defensive right now? >> it's hard to say. has the momentum and broke in. >> verisign's the tide is beginning to turn in the population is turning on them. >> has that hurt the recruiting
efforts. >> it is hard to say. they are having a hard time in mosul pain fighters. having a hard time getting fuel. they try to seize the refinery starting in june. they needed the refinery for the fuel they would need to make sure mosul had the lights on. they failed. there is a very heroic defense put up by iraqi fighters for six months and iraqi forces, just a couple weeks ago with our help were able to break pastiche and isil has no chance. >> i time is expired. thank you. >> team to victory much. mr. marino is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, ambassador. it's good to see you again. as we say in pennsylvania, your position -- you are between iraq and a hard place with the talks at the white house. i'm a member of the nato alliance and routinely the
comments from our members asking is the president taking this seriously? is the president taking isis seriously? after listening to senator kerry's testimony, i get the impression and i'm just assuming you folks may be frustrated, too, that the president is trying to micromanage this in not listening to you and to the military personnel. my other nato colleagues who say anytime you want to join in and contribute, would be more at happy to have you on board. with that said, we didn't attack isis going into iraq. i think i was the major mistake and i want to ask you. i know what you talk about in the oval office in what you can
say here not by your choice may be a little different. we made a mistake by not doing that. would you agree with me? >> was your questions? >> i'm not attacking isis when they were leaving. >> the president said the new york emergency but they were junior varsity basketball players. what has changed that they are not junior varsity anymore? was there an opportunity to attack them? going into iraq. >> well, testified a year ago things we were doing at the time. all i can say as soon as mosul fellows in iraq in a videoconference from president obama and reacted immediately, which my testimony laid out to set the conditions for what we are doing now. within the earliest hours to get special forces to see what's happening to set up joint operations centers.
they get a new iraqi government. they have for the past year. >> i am not going to second-guess you on the questions on the information that we needed before you could go one to do what we decided to do. i just would not do that. should we increase airstrikes and can we increase airstrikes? i do take prolix purely notice and agree with you on your urban combat situation. could we increase airstrikes and pound isis even more? >> going to the point of how careful we are being, i think you will see airstrikes increase as iraqi offensive operations increase. he does when their ongoing
operations were able to strike targets in support of those operations, and our limitations are not as narrow as when we strike targets simply by our intelligence picture. so when iraqis are moving in the field and when isil begins to show itself, airstrikes increase. you may see an increase in the numbers. the numbers i just gave her pretty significant. i got a report when i was coming here in the car. we've gone over the past couple of days. we struck targets in iraq in mosul, cure could, ag samarra. so, to say we are extremely serious about that and taking the fight to isil every single hour. >> would we be in a better position to play monday morning quarterback here and be in a better position to leave troops in iraq instead of pulling them out? >> i will let the historians sort them out.
i'm really focused on where we are right now. >> there's no doubt in my mind. it's the president's agenda and now he realizes we're up against the wall here. so with that, i yield back the time. >> please, go ahead. >> it is significant to point out that we left in 2011 under an agreement in 2008. one issue from the moment we invaded iraq is that we invaded iraq. what is significant about right now this is really apparent to me when i was in iraq last month that the iraqis have now invited us in to help them. it's a totally different environment than our presence in the past and it gives us a kind of a new foundation in which to operate. right up until a presence in iraq, was extremely
controversial we were there at all. >> ambassador, unfortunately we have to cut you off because i will recognize the remaining members were then it each because i know that you need to leave by 12:15. mr. cicilline of rhode island. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. ambassador for being here today to discuss the implementation as it relates to the strategy to defeat isis and have the opportunity to thank you for your service to our country and area of tremendous difficulty. i believe there's no military solution to the conflict in iraq into syria and i have deep reservations about the efficacy of the military actions we've taken, particularly as it relates to equip and train the theory and rebels and my concern of course is that this will lead to a deepening of our involvement in a thick terry and civil war. i know many of the questions i have would be better answered by
dod. to accept you can comment on this impeachment is the helpful. the first question i have is the administration has focused a lot about the importance of building an international coalition to fight isil unequal scale. could you share details about the progress we made in building the coalition and with the barriers have been to sustain in the coalition as it relates to the train and equip programs and what kind of response we've had from some of the more wary countries and share the burden for responding to the global threat. i know when your written testimony that only the united kingdom, belgium and netherlands and denmark are involved in the airstrikes and there are no regional part nurse and that of course raises can there about this notion of outside the region and gazing in this military conflict in which you talk about where we are in leading a meaningful coalition, not just a photo op when people are really committed to the
after and how they are sharing the burdens of this fight against isis. >> thank you, congressman. we built this from scratch. 90 days ago this didn't exist at all. conversations begin in september at the nato summit in wales with the president and secretary kerry. immediately after that we brought the gcc together another key partners with a very strong communiqué. we've added a broader group in paris in the u.n. general assembly meeting. new york later that month in september. we began to build the coalition. the focus to some of the gcc partners was in joining an campaign in syria and once the airstrikes start use other regional states, by rain, uae and qatar was also part of the operations in that campaign. since then, we moved to develop these efforts with ringing countries from all around the world and that is my 60 members joined in brussels for a
cooperative effort among military, finance, counter foreign fighters coming humanitarian and delegitimization. the military side we have the air campaign. we have substantial training and equip effort in iraq. we have qatar, turkey and saudi arabia supporting the effort for syria. most importantly, the other lines of effort on foreign fighters, president obama chaired security council session at the u.n. general assembly and security council with the resolution on foreign fighters that had the most sponsors of any resolution in history over 100 sponsors and we are now working to go to capital after capital. i was just addressing the parliament about implementing the resolution. we are having real progress. we see countries pass legislation to cut down for fighters and this wasn't happening 80 days ago. on counter finance, the same thing. we had kuwait has passed
legislation to shut down some problematic channels we have been seen in working with other partners. so i could go on. the coalition is actually extremely meaningful in considering rebuilt from scratch 90 days ago and these key events as president obama and secretary kerry worked to strip what the world leaders to pull us together is really extraordinary and with the appointment of general allen and boosted our efforts around the world. >> thank you very much. >> alaska witness to provide a witness response to the status of those adoption of the resolution in those countries. the mac without objection. >> mr. duncan of south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. i appreciate the comments made by mr. connolly from virginia about the situation in the collapse of the iraqi army in the face of such 10.
i want to comment and provide an answer because the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. that is the fact we prematurely left iraq after the president made a campaign promise to be out of iraq by the end of his first term and we saw a force there. even nicer prime minister maliki offered immunity to u.s. troops the executive order because the president wanted to see the iraqi parliament cast iraqi parliament cast a vote on mac, which they did and it failed. we don't have a contingency force we need in 2014 and 2013 in iraq that could have faced off again isis. ambassador, sitting here listening to this and the president really fails to articulate what success in iraq where success against the isis or isil looks like. what does success look like to you against isis quick >> it is a three-phase campaign
to dismantle an defeat and what we look at number one in the first phase is helping iraqis control cyberspace. they do not control a third of their country. helping them control is a critical test of what we will be doing. degrading isil in syria with a huge swath of territory is number two in leading ultimately to a political transition which will be extremely difficult. the first phase of this campaign is helping iraqis regain control of the sovereign territory. >> let's shift gears here because i think success against isis is reclaiming all the land in iraq but we lasso much american blood and treasure liberating. then we can talk about the syrian civil war and who may or may not be friendly there that we want to back and i don't think that has been determined yet. what i do know who is friendly and that is the kurds. they have been there since we
went in the gulf war. they've been with the iraqi government in the deliberation matter. so when faced with isil, they cut and run, but who didn't was the kurdish fighters. you didn't cut and run in the face of a bulldozer that was armored in erbil. they actually ran towards the bulldozer to attack it and stop in at 25 or so kurdish fighters lost their lives because they didn't have the necessary armament to stop something like that and stop some of the other weapons isil still has. my question to you is this. does the administration intend to equip the british forces to commit the offense of operations? other than small arms, pistols, rifles, small arms. what else are we going to get our friends, the kurds, to fight isil? ..
in your opening remarks, it you indicated it would take a long time to defeat isil. broadly defined, what is that longtime? you indicated there are different challenges. can isil be defeated in one country and not the other? can isil be defeated in syria without first or nearly simultaneous achievement of a political settlement in syria? can we achieve a political settlement in syria without pushing back or defeating isil? the biggest threats to our continued progress,, and finally, what can and should congress be doing to help you in your mission? with that i will i will leave you the remainder of
the time. >> is our big questions, and i thank you for your offer to follow up and writing in the interest of time. we say years for a reason. a reason. i don't want to put a specific timeframe on this. this will be a multitier challenge. that is really the only way i can answer that. >> if i can, in the context of the next 12 12 months, that is going to be the front end of the battle against isil. >> we would like to see the iraqis began to restore control of there sovereign territory and the border. that process will begin over the next year. in terms of the congress, the funding and authority
that we need will be critical. the dod did -- dod requests will be immediately put to good use because we have programs ready to go just waiting for that authorization. >> can we defeat isil and iraq and not defeat them at the same time in syria to mac. >> we made a determination that to degrade the war fighting capacity we have to target them in syria as well >> is it possible without a political solution that cannot and does not include a sod? >> you have to have a counterweight to extremist groups like isil. that that is what we are
doing with the train and equip efforts. with that i yield my time. >> the chair will recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> thank you for being here. a lot of disagreements. i have i appreciate your service. you mentioned 252 the iraqi government. that is one per 26 miles along a 650-mile border. it is really a joke on a sleep. i that it is not your decision, but i was in iraq recently. when i went back to see what had transpired, personally
it was devastating and is hard for me to even talk about, but when i talk to our folks, they say we have to teach them how to concentrate forces of fire. it was crazy. it is fun to see all of these new hawks i remember talking to years ago. people thought it was a joke and that i was joking. here we are. on the syrian side of things , our failure to enforce the red line has been a devastating policy decision. there was legitimate talk about getting the short al-assad out of office. we have to preserve the institutions of the state and solve this peacefully. today there is no real discussion because he has no
incentive. that is that is why i am a supporter of a no-fly zone. it changes the calculus in his mind to have him understand if his wife is at threat he will peacefully leave syria with institutions in place. i frankly think that he is the incubator of isis, the reason that they are there. you mentioned -- by the way, i have heard recent reports that the fsa is complaining of us cutting funding. i hope that is not true. that would be devastating. i expect a paycheck. i have to support people. the one thing i want to ask
you, when we talk about strikes in syria, you mentioned later time as having to come from the golf have there been negotiations to try to open up bases? if so, what has been the administration response? the administration is not going to accept it because they do not want to take off iran. i would like you to address that. again, thank you for being here. >> congressman, thank you for your service. we do this in the memory of those who have served and lost their lives in iraq. >> i appreciate that. >> the future of syria, we want to see it without isil. it will take a long time.
i guess we are in conversations with turkey about opening up platforms and narrowing some of the areas of disagreement. we have made some progress. >> let me save the rest of my time. i see no downside in a no-fly or exclusionary zone above the fsa. he would be an idiot to challenge america's air superiority. >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> thank you. thank you for coming back. your testimony is always enlightening. enlightening. thank you for the extraordinary amount of time, effort, and energy. i wanted -- actually, two basic areas. first off, building off of
what was just touched on, you mentioned the opening statement, allies in the effort, much of the testimony we heard before this committee is the main draw for fighters to begin with was against a sod. the endgame is a political transition of power. i have a hard time seeing at this.there is any impetus to have him go. i understand you said this was the first phase and it could be potentially years long. what changes the calculus? how long do you think it takes for a moderate syrian rebel force to be strong enough to fend off on one side isis and the other side assad? >> you have hit on a key
question, congressman. that is why there is a focus on the bottom-up approach. that has been discussed with us and assad. we are supportive but concerned because we do not want another situation like where you had a cease-fire which basically was a starved campaign. the best we can do politically is try to freeze the conflict. again, we are fully supportive of that effort. trying to get another political process going, moving forward with key stakeholders, and that is an ongoing process. in terms of being able to defend against ongoing threats, it is difficult.
tens of thousands of moderate opposition fighters. they are locally rooted, protecting homes, neighborhoods and we want to make sure they can protect their homes and neighbors and communities against these different threats. they will be organized to fight isis and the regime. >> this is the united states continuing the fight in another middle eastern country for potentially years. i have a hard time understanding how there is not a new authorization for the use of military force that we will be necessary in terms of outlining these efforts. i know this was pushed a little bit in the senate
yesterday. as i understand, the new congress will outline this. anything that you would suggest we keep in mind as we debate that authorization which from my perspective is now months overdue? >> he did say we are prepared to work closely with the congress. we do not think it should include a geographic limitation. the flexibility of the commander-in-chief must be maintained, but we are willing to work with you. >> the gentleman's gentleman's time has expired. the ambassador does have a meeting at the white house. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. >> thank you for being here. the vision of isis is an
apocalyptic vision to destroy america. they want a worldwide caliphate. they are looking to come here. i know our goal was to defeat isis. congressman duncan asked you the mission. in order to complete the battle you have to have a clear, defined mission. you laid that out in a three phased scenario. one of the questions i have is, the coalition that we have -- and i know we are training. march 16 you are looking at having 5,000 fighters over there. how is the global coalition going? who is on the ground, syrian rebels? what other countries have
fighters in there? >> well, i well, i would leave it to capitals to announce their commitments. the train and equip mission, they we will host training sites. >> but as far as boots on the ground. >> in iraq we we will have a number of coalition partners subject to the approval of the iraqi government. >> training. >> canada, australia. >> trainers or actually engaged? >> trainers and advise and assist units. again, subject to the authorization of the iraqi government. about 1500 1500 coalition partners helping us. >> but as far as boots on the ground, iraqis, syrian free fighters, kurds. >> ground force our local forces. >> middle east is in a state of flux. we have to protect american interests. what are those?
are they defined? >> primarily we want to protect the homeland against extremist threats. when you see an organization with 16,000 fighters getting combat experience, that is very significant threat. >> and you feel it is best to fight them over there than here, and i agree. but the mission, the war on isil, is there a way to narrow that down? that is kind of like the war on poverty or the war on terror. is there a way to streamline these? we have the war on terror, the overseas contingency operation. is there a way to streamline and maximize and concentrate resources in a specific area
is there an endgame, a defeat of isil? is that possible? you are fighting an ideology. what is that conclusion? >> that is why we are focused on isil as an organization. we want to suffocate the entire organization. >> we tried that with the taliban and al qaeda and got to a.where we thought we had been defeated. isil came out of that. if we do not have a definition of completeness there we will be a isil part two. the mission is to bring the caliphate over here. you do not have time to answer that, but if you could just something down and enter it into the record, i would appreciate it. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, california, and members are reminded, if they can yield
back time, the ambassador has to leave in 20 minutes. >> obviously this is complicated to say the least mr. ambassador, you laid out three things, the grade, dismantle, and defeat isil. it looks like we are in the degrading phase. you laid out two prongs to degradation, the counter finance operation am a choke off funding and breaking up the foreign fighters. can you give us an update on how the operation is doing on drying of the sources of revenue and how that is impacting morel? >> i can give you anecdotes and come back in a different a different setting and did you figures, but we have taken off-line 22 mobile refineries. we have taken most of that off-line.
we have seen increasing reports that the ability to pay their fighters is substantially degraded and the ability to get fuel is also degraded, but we have got to keep at this. >> do we have a sense that the fighters on the ground with isil right now, are they losing those fighters? >> they are losing fighters at a a pretty substantial clip every week based upon our airstrikes. significant because they flooded hundreds of fighters we had indications some of there top fighters, and we were able to deal with them quite effectively. >> the second part of the degradation mission, breaking up and reducing the inflow of foreign fighters, you referenced working with alliance partners and so forth,, a broad coalition of folks that are stepping up to produce the influx of foreign fighters. can you give us an update?
>> it is difficult to measure, but the propaganda is it is a war of flags. what we have been able to do is reversed that notion. it is now contracting. it was selling a message that if you come and join isis you will live a utopian fantasy. that is now clearly not true. true. if you go to syria, you will probably get killed. and when you go home he will probably get arrested and prosecuted. i think the tide is turning, but we need to just keep at this. >> seeing the muslim countries in the region that our coalition partners stepping up anti- propaganda, anti- messaging?
>> yes, they are extremely focused on that. that. i could provide you a fairly detailed written account. >> that would be great. i use my time back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> earlier you said that we don't want to tie the hands of the commander-in-chief. if he does not listen to his military generals and the congress and our wishes, is he tying our hands? >> i am regularly in meetings with the president and chairman of the joint chiefs. i see no indication that hands are being tied. >> why do you suppose -- the legislation,, it comes to the admin. why do you think that is?
>> i cannot comment on pending legislation but i'm happy to work with the community. one of the pre- ambulance paragraphs talks about the need to begin to resolve issues expeditiously. i think we are now seeing that happen. >> the 50,000 ghost soldiers on the payroll. do we no who is responsible for that? are they still in a position of authority? >> thirty-six commanders have been terminated and new commanders have been appointed. >> we are confident that has been rooted out? >> no, i don't think we are confident it has been completely rooted out. >> that corruption? >> the iraqi government made statements that they found situations in which soldiers were no longer active and still getting paychecks. >> let me move on quickly.
twenty-two mobile refineries, refineries, 220 barrels a day at $80 a barrel, $576,000 a month. how are they able to hang onto that money and disperse it? >> that is why we have a line of effort focused on counter finance led by our colleagues at the state department and the treasury department. we are taking all of the tools and bringing them to bear on this problem. >> very quickly, who do we think is getting most of that money? who is buying that oil? >> it is smuggled through the kurdistan region and through turkey, but we have not seen any complicity by turkish authorities. >> the chair now recognizes the gentle lady from florida >> thank you for your
testimony here today. i have i have heard a lot of frustration and loud voices from congress. i have not heard any real good ideas or plans put forth by the congress. maybe that is the reason we have not done what i think we should have done, which is to take up and debate the so-called war against isil. our responsibility is to either authorize or not this war. with with that said, i want to issue a couple of questions. are are we giving supplies and money directly to the password to? does it go through the iraqi government? can we assume from your testimony that there is no ongoing conversations for any kind of political settlement in syria?
what would be your idea as to who would, what the government would look like from a practical.of view if assad was not present? if you have any more time, i would like to understand the general conditions in syria in terms of who is providing services to what segments of the population. >> first in terms of supplying kurdish forces, it is a cooperative collaborative process with the central government and seems to be working very well. if there are additional requests we sit down and work through them and will continue. >> but you have to get permission from the iraqi government; is that correct? >> the minister of defense
has approved every single request that has come. we are in a bit of a knew era here. we need to keep it moving the right way. in terms in terms of the situation with what the future assad regime might look like, we are working on a transition process based on the geneva communiqué which lays out a clear process that the world united around. we have been involved with key stakeholders to try to get that process on track. >> is anyone from syria involved? >> again, my colleague is in touch with syrians every single day. we are crisscrossing the region. he is constantly in discussion with particularly the syrian opposition. >> and what about mr. assad?
>> again, there is a consensus consensus that the future of syria with him at the helm we will not be stable. the process by which we have a transition remains an ongoing attempt. >> idea of the rest of my time. >> the chair now recognizes himself for four minutes. ambassador, in terms of kayten, do you believe they can be a a constructive force in the fight against isis? sectarian differences. what is your position? how are you conducting yourself and performing your duties with that in mind? >> we recognize that isil is a threat to iran. iran has a stake in this, but how they conduct themselves remains an open question.
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tink ientire prrie r is suomtt tres cyhch rtrtshe poof sca prucudoi wh i le cars how long ths current increase in oil production will last and what type of impact lessening demand will have here on domestic consumers. mr. chairman, i come to the issue with a truly open mind and look forward to hearing from today's panel of experts,to beore pefi lkingornsrson
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